In an historic decision Friday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, declaring it legal in all 50 states. This could mean a large increase in wedding-related revenue in Louisiana and especially New Orleans, which hosts nearly 9,100 weddings per year totaling more than $228.7 million, according to a 2014 study by The Wedding Report. The number of states allowing same-sex marriage had grown to 36 in recent years in response to the Supreme Court’s decision not to act on the issue. According to a May 2015 Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage.
The Statement by Justice Anthony Kennedy for the “opinion of the court” states:
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered."
In Justice John Roberts’ dissenting statement, he writes:
“Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal, who this week announced he is running for president, quickly released a statement against the Supreme Court’s ruling. The New Orleans Advocate reports that Jindal accuses “the nation’s highest court of following public opinion polls and eroding religious liberty.”
In its upcoming July issue Biz New Orleans Magazine (published by the same publisher as New Orleans Bride Magazine and this blog) reports, “Spending in Louisiana still remains high for commitment ceremonies, which average close to weddings at $23,776, per event.” The “Putting a Price on Love,” feature explores the $228-million-a-year industry in the New Orleans area. It goes on to say that nationally, LGBT spending on marriage accounts for $259 million annually. “In the first year that same sex marriage was recognized in New York City, the city received a bump in local revenues fro wedding spending to the tune of $16 million,” the piece states.
Tonight (June 26) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., in a veritable coup of scheduling mastery, The New Orleans Southern Decadence Grand Marshals XLI are hosting at The Chicory, the “Decadence Says ‘I Do’” event. The LGBT immersive event will have an open bar, music, a fashion show featuring local designers and wedding vendors from throughout the New Orleans area. Click here for tickets and information.
UPDATE 2:30 p.m., July 26: Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued the following statement after the Supreme Court announced it’s decision: “As the mayor of a city that has long embraced the principles of inclusion, tolerance and diversity, I am more than pleased to see the Supreme Court and the United States embrace these same principles. Today, our great country takes another step toward becoming a more perfect union, but more work is needed to end discrimination in all forms and make our country a fairer and more just place to live for every American.”
UPDATE, June 26, 5 p.m: Landreiu later issued another statement in response to statements made by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Gov. Bobby Jindal that would delay the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“The U.S. Supreme Court was clear this morning in its ruling; we have a fundamental right to marry the person we love. We are a nation of laws, and Louisiana is no exception. The State has no legal authority to delay issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples even a moment longer. It is time for Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to stop denying committed, loving couples in Louisiana their constitutional right to marry. They’ve waited long enough.”